Whether you’re a seasoned biologist or an amphibian enthusiast, finding newts should definitely be on your list. These stunning colored creatures aren’t only a joy to watch; they’re also fascinating to study and observe.
Most newts can be found near water bodies like ponds, streams, and lakes. You can even find them in your garden or backyard if you’re lucky enough, as they’re beneficial for gardeners to keep pests and insects away.
Finding newts might take forever, but the effort is worth it. To make things easier for you, we’ll guide you through how to find newts. We’ll cover everything from where they live to how to spot them in their natural habitat.
Newts live in different areas of the Northern Hemisphere, which includes Asia, Europe, North Africa, and North America. They usually inhabit water environments such as ponds, lakes, and streams. They also live in damp terrestrial areas near water bodies.
However, these folks don’t stay in the same place for long. Newts live in various habitats throughout their life cycle. You can spot adult males near ponds and pools during spring and summer. In their breeding season (from March to June), females can also be found in ponds, streams, and lakes as they lay their eggs in the water.
Depending on the species, some newts spend more time on land, while others stay within water most of the year. It’s up to your luck where to find them.
Forests with plenty of ground cover are ideal for newts as they can easily find hiding spots and food supply, but that doesn’t mean you’ll find them there. Most newts actually stay near water sources as they lose water easily through their permeable skin, so that’s where you should look.
Newts have been captivating amphibian enthusiasts for years with their vibrant colors, unique appearance, and interesting life cycle.
Even though newts and salamanders are abundant in the United States, spotting them isn’t a walk in the park. You’ll have to do plenty of research beforehand to increase your chances of seeing one. Here’s what else you need to do:
Before you start your adventure, it’s critical to know exactly what you’re looking for. In other words, you must know which species of newts are active in your area. That way, you can learn more about their preferred habitat and hiding spots, making it easier to spot them.
Luckily, most states provide this information through their local government or scientific society websites. For example, Tennessee state’s Wildlife Resources Agency offers much information about salamanders inhabiting the state on their website. You can find detailed descriptions and photos of each species, where to find them, and more.
Newts prefer habitats that combine aquatic and terrestrial environments, so those would be a good place to start. Here are some examples of where to find newts:
- Creeks: slow-moving creeks are ideal for newts to lay their eggs. You may want to look for creeks and slow-moving streams of water with plenty of rocks and hiding spots.
- Vernal pools: these are seasonal ponds with no fish; they’re ideal breeding spots for newts. You can find plenty of newt eggs there, but make sure not to handle them.
- Rocks and logs: the best place to find newts is under rocks and logs. You’ll likely find them under partially immersed rocks. To lure a newt out, grab the rock and flip it slowly toward you.
- Damp and moist areas: search within damp locations, as newts need moisture to survive.
- Caves: some newt species live in caves’ openings, and others live even deeper in caves.
Timing is vital when looking for newts and other amphibians. For example, you’re more likely to see newts during their breeding seasons, which vary depending on the species. However, they’re most active during summer and spring.
Additionally, most newts are nocturnal, meaning they’re more active at night than morning. So plan your search time accordingly and use a red flashlight to avoid disturbing newts. Night vision goggles are also handy for inspecting newts in the dark.
It’s critical to observe newts responsibly and avoid disturbing their habitat and well-being. Stay calm and quiet, and avoid talking loudly when approaching a group of newts. They’re sensitive and extremely cautious when they feel danger, so try not to scare them away.
It’s worth noting that you should always just watch and keep your hands off newts. You may unintentionally harm them by handling them, even if you’re doing it gently.
As you can see, spotting newts can be challenging. After hours of searching, you may see only a few. As such, catching newts can be even more difficult as they’re sensitive, fast, and have toxic defense mechanisms.
To catch newts, you need to create a funnel trap or use a net. If you’re using funnel traps, place them in the areas where newts are most active. That includes stagnant water sources like pools, ponds, and swaps.
You can also throw traps in burrows and wooden areas near water bodies. Leave the traps for around 24 hours and check if you have caught any newts. If you do, it’s best to watch them for a bit, take some pictures and return them to the wild.
In case you’re using a net, make sure to use a glow stick to attract newts to it. You should also wear waterproof pants to walk into the water easily.
If you plan to temporarily keep the newt, prepare a suitable container with a small amount of water. Note that you shouldn’t directly handle the newts as your skin’s acid mantle can be dangerous for them. If you really have to touch them, wear protective gloves.
The legality of catching newts depends on the state, species, and location. For example, some states have strict laws regarding capturing, killing, selling, or disturbing amphibians, while others don’t.
For instance, in California, you must obtain a fishing license to collect non-protected amphibians and reptiles.
We hope we have covered everything you need to know about finding newts. Now that you have learned about their habitat, hiding spots, and the best times to find them, the process should be much easier.
So go out there and unleash your inner herpetologist, and remember to share your findings with fellow amphibian enthusiasts.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house. Growing up, I had pet dogs, cats, deer, sugar gliders, chinchillas, a bird, chickens, fish, and a goat.